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Undertow Theatre Collective “Proud” to present political satire as first show

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A new Lethbridge theatre group is “Proud” to present their first production at Casa, March 9,11 and 12 at Casa.DJ Gellatly and Derek Stevenson are proud to presnt Proud at Casa this week. Photo by Richard Amery

Undertow Theatre Collective, founded by DJ Gellatly, Meredith Pritchard and Derek Stevenson will be joined by Cole Fetting in Michael Healey’s political comedy “Proud.”

“We had a fun and different goal,” said s Derek Stevenson, taking  advantage of a relatively slower time in his duties of New West Theatre’s general manager.

“We all really wanted to be on stage more and we wanted to  play to our strengths, which is comedy,” he said.

“We really wanted to bring people out and make them  part of the show. We wanted to do interesting plays in interesting spaces when we stumbled upon “Proud” and we really wanted to do it for our first show,” Stevenson said.

“Proud” is a 2011 Michael Healey penned satirical comedy inspired by Stephen Harper’s majority government.
“ It’s a satire inspired by  the 2011 Stephen Harper government, though it isn’t really directly about  it,” he continued.

“It’s very topical,” added DJ Gellatly,” who plays the prime minister.
The play takes place shortly after the Conservatives win a majority government when the prime minister discovers a secret weapon in his caucus – Jisbella Lyth, a single mother with a limited understanding of her role as a MP. Using her ignorance to his advantage, the PM hatches a plan to have Jisbella front and centre in a campaign of misdirection and distraction. Her son, played by Cole Fetting reflects on the experience from 15 years in the future.

“It’s an interesting perspective having that character narrate from 15 years later, though he is mentioned in passing in the play,” Stevenson said.

“It explores some extremely relevant themes especially considering what is going on now south of the border,” Stevenson said.

 Derick Sgtevenson and DJ Gellatly star in Proud this week. Photo by Richard Amery

“ It is about the divisive nature of politics and how a decision by one person can have a ripple effect on thousands of people,” he continued.
DJ Gellatly is enjoying playing a prime minister.

“I’m a big guy, so I usually get cast in authoritarian roles and lead mechanicals, he observed.

“He (his character) is very much in control of every aspect of his life and the lives of the people who work for him, he said.
“He knows strategy and tactics and knows how to use strategy help him achieve his goals,” Gellatly continued.
“He’s always five steps ahead of everyone,” Stevenson said,adding the 90 minute play is a comedy though it explores some important issues.
“It’s more Veep than it is House of Cards. Veep is the closest  to it,” Stevenson said.

 They have an excellent backstage crew to help put on the play including Andrew Legg designing the set, Lisa Floyd handling lighting and Jeneva Moxon as stage manager.
Grants from Heart of the City and Canada 150 helped them put on the play.
“ We’re very grateful to them. We couldn’t have done this without them,” Stevenson said.
“ This is a fun script we’re exhibiting,” Gellatly said, noting the group would like to put on two plays a year, but it depends on how this one goes.
“ it’s very timely and very relevant today,” he continued.
Proud begins  at 7:30 p.m. March 9, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. each night. Tickets are $15 at Casa.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
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